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Stephen Downes

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The Blast Shack

Bruce Sterling, Webstock, Dec 23, 2010

Bruce Sterling mixes John le Carré and Edgar Allen Poe and comes up with a sharp and insightful analysis of the Wikileaks scandal. You have to read it as Sterling the novelist speaking - it doesn't much matter whether Manning is guilty, that's just the role he plays. But as an account of the fiction that is global intelligence, it's cracking good reading, and keenly straddles the contradictions that are the grist for a novelist's mill. And Sterling, who knows these cypherpunks and hackers and has made a career studying them, wants them to succeed, and at the same time doesn't, because the very institutions that need to be destroyed are the ones holding the whole system together. But, as in the novel, "Saints, martyrs, dissidents and freaks are always wild-cards, but sometimes they're the only ones who can clear the general air."

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